Archive for February, 2014

Books, Talking, Agony & Occasional Fun


I’ll be speaking at the Type Director’s Club on Thursday, 3/13 as part of their annual Book Night with cover design heavyweights Megan Wilson and Jim Tierney. At which time I will likely be wondering aloud why something as difficult and demanding and heartbreaking as designing book covers remains fun and somehow inspiring. As far as I know, this is not intended as a roast. Though I can’t be surprised if it ends up that way. Details and registration are here.

I’ll be sharing horror stories, victories and how art direction and illustration inform my approach to designing covers and vice versa. Among them, some background behind a few recent projects which are coming out soon if not already:

For Soft Skull Press.
A collection of black comedic short stories about death. Or at least they’re told to ease the creeping certainty of death’s persistent advance. Any laughter is commensurate with your personal abilities of disassociation.

For Pantheon. Art direction: Peter Mendelsund.
Alain de Botton argues that the artless monotony of news delivery misses the chance to engage people the way true storytelling can. Working at a newspaper myself, I have complicated feelings about this.

For Viking. Art direction: Paul Buckley. Photo: Godlis.
If I ever score another book project as close to my heart as this it will likely involve bribery or something worse. Alex Chilton’s & Big Star’s music has been lining the inner wall of my ribcage ever since The Replacements tipped me off to them in high school. As a matter of course I try to keep personal attachments off the table when designing, but it gives me no secret selfish happiness to have my handwriting on the jacket for a book about one of the guys who’s music helped get me through high school, college, my post-college 20′s, half of my post-college 30′s and last night.

For Verso. Art direction: Andy Pressman
A new account of the oil industry’s backdoor movers & shakers and how they are, in their singular way, vampires of the land raping the soil for what remaining natural resources we haveā€”and why those businessmen and this business have made us all dependent and complicit. A comedy.

See you next week.